I have stood on the summit of the Huascarán Sur with Jamie P. on the 26th of August on the 3rd day of our ascent. We have climbed it fast, probably too fast. The route was different this year due to the group of the scientists ascending earlier this year, apparently they decided that going through 'Garganta' wasn't safe. It involved some technical climbing of almost vertical ice at some point. It was a great experience and we were lucky with the weather. We haven't used any support or porters.
It was early season. I was at Artesonraju prior to Huascaran. There was a large broken crevasse ~5700m level. That occurred a week prior to my climb. A new route to the right which requires 5-6 ice screws was attempted with success. However teams 2-5 days ahead of us encountered snow fall and strong wind at camp II. Beyond camp II, the snow was waist deep. At Camp One, we greeted a team of 10 German climbers, 4 guides and 6 porters who summitted Alpamayo on June 8/9. They were strong and even carried a ladder to overcome the broken crevasse. The ladder proved to be too short. My guide led the route to the right of the open crevasse. The mountain was extremely windy for at least 3-4 days. Once reaching camp II, the large expedition team gathered and went down within 7-8 minutes. The visible high wind and constant gusts fill my mind with "survival"... Not a chance for the next 3 days at least. I moved to another mountain. The avalanche zones are not as scary as I thought. Heard quite a few avalanche.
It is a mountain that requires all technical gears. Still people show up unprepared thinking it is not so technical a mountain. Condition could vary within days or weeks.
A five day climb with porter, cook and mules. We camped at base camp, then moved all our gear up close to the refuge (right under the glacier). Then you climb up to camp 2 at about 6000m. We summited next day, and descended up to the refuge camp. Dress well, it is cold at the summit ;-)!
July 2013 was very stable weatherwise in the Cordillera Blanca. Our team managed to climb Urus, Ichinca, Toclaraju (through the Bergshrund route), Huascaran Sur and Chopicalqui. We had to abandon halfway up the Pisco due to very bad weather.
3 of us traveled to Musho already acclimated from a previous climb. We used porters and donkeys to bring us directly to the Refugio and climbed from here in alpine style. On the first day we moved to Camp 1 which was fairly easy despite the pack weights. We were moving by 7am on day 2 and crossed the Candletta without incident before sunhit (another party left at 2am, not a bad idea). You could easily go from Refugio to high camp in a day if you timed it correctly. We left the high camp at 2am and were the only ones on the route. It was a bit tough to find the route in the dark, some steep snow and short crossing of WI3 or so. We reached the summit shortly after sunrise and returned to high camp and stayed the night to avoid descending to Camp 1 in the afternoon.
I HIGHLY recommend Huascaran Sur az the highest most interesting peak in South America. Did not find its reputation to be as bad as I had heard.
Didn't have much time left in our trip, so we approached from Musho (3000 M) to Refuge (4,650 M) on day one, and climbed to the summit from refuge on day 2. Had to break trail for last 3000 ft. Was glad to bring a good amount of water!
Up and down in four days. Sucked carrying so much food up to high camp. Started at 1 ish and topped off at around 6:30 in pretty brutal winds. Dropped a tool about halfway up and miraculously found it waiting for us on the way down!!! Fun climb. Will try the Shield next time.
Felt very strong and acclimated after Pisco and Chopicalqui, but I came down with something and got sick at camp 1. No summit, but will come back someday.
Climbed the normal route in 5 days. Excellent conditions, though small sections now require an axe and a tool. The ice fall is not nearly as bad as everyone makes it sound.
Almost a month after my first attempt, which stranded almost half way up to the summit from campo 2, I was back at campo 2 with two climbers I had met earlier in Huaraz.
The next morning, August 8, Angikar had a stomach bug and couldn´t climb. At half past eight, I decided to have a look at the route, and, specifically, at the point where I returned the last time. Sakshama decided to stay with his friend. It was a bit cold and windy, but otherwise a perfect day, and after passing the col, the wind was much, much less and although it was still cold, it was in fact quite pleasant weather.
As I reached the critical section, I saw what I couldn´t see in the clouds a month ago: the route went up steeply for 50m or so. I saw a route marker high up, and some bits of snow were trickling down, signalling that there were other climbers higher up somewhere. I climbed up the steep section and met two others. They told me that it was an easy but long slog to the summit from there - they had taken 3.5 hours for it! As it was almost 12 o´clock, I thought that I wouln´t have enough time, but decided to have a look anyway. I could always return if it got too late, right? A couple of times I thought I saw the summit, and boosted by the idea that it wasn´t much further, I continued, only to find out that it was a false summit. In the end, I finally got there minutes before half past three, 7 hours after I had started. Fortunately, as I had seen on the way up, there were a few places where I could glissade down, saving a lot of time, and with that I made it down to campo 2 in less than 3 hours, minutes after sunset.
The next morning, the wind was too strong to try for the summit, but that was hardly relevant as the stomach bug hadn´t gone away yet. During the day, the wind abated a bit, and I headed out with Sakshama, to show him the lower half of the route, up to the crux. However, on the col itself the wind was blowing hard again and we went back to camp after half an hour.
On the third morning, Angikar finally felt better, although pretty weak from not eating much in two days, but the wind was still unrelenting. A summit attempt was out of the question and having no more food to stay up there any longer, we headed down to the refuge.
By the way, campo 2 was the worst camp site I´ve spent the night: cold (almost minus 8 degrees Celcius inside my tent), quite windy, even though we were about 150m below the actual col, sheltered by an ice wall, and dirty because of all the other climbers who had camped there before us ... which may well have been the cause for my friends´ stomach bug.
But we had to break the trail all the way from Camp II to the summit. See trip report, GPS track and photos at my blog Distantpeak
The weather wasn´t too good at col camp at night. An occasional bit of snowfall and more than an occasional bit of wind. Besides, the summit was covered in clouds. Yesterday it had been about the same and nobody climbed Sur.
Eventually we started shortly before 8 am, very late, but with the daylight we could at least see where we were going. Alas, the clouds that covered the higher part of the mountain didn´t budge and so the route was too hard to find.
I´ll be back!
Day 1: up to Base camp (4200m)
Day 2: up to camp 1 on the glacier (5300m)
Day 3: up to camp 2 just below the col (5900m)
Day 4: Summit in 6.5 hrs from camp 2. It helped that we followed tracks from another party. Had to do one rappel on the way down.
Big mountain - wish i was better acclimatized, i still am waiting for the chance to head back to huascaran.
Garganta was more sketchy then i thought. I would recommend leaving VERY early from camp 1 to head through there. We left at 5am, and had a refrigerator sized block pass within 30 ft of my partner and I. Turned around on my summit push at around 6500m from bad AMS symptoms and hightailed it back to base camp. The route above camp 2 was ok, alot of crevasses. Also, there were LARGE avalanche debris fields on either side of camp 1.
Very out of breath and very cold. Avoid the Garganta too late in the day! We had scary slushy deep snow on the descent. It would probably have been safer to camp on Garganta once more.
2nd attempt 7/1/11 success.
5 days on the mountain. 2 miserable nights at high camp, 19K' but no summit. apparently nobody made the summit in two weeks. in restrospect, we should have hired a mule to get to basecamp and our climbing schedule was a bit agressive. should not have skipped camp 1.
With Jim, Eric and Ben. Took our time gaining camps to be sure of acclimatization Base Camp, Moraine Camp, Camp 1, then Camp 2. Weather never really let up on the upper portions of the mountain. By the time we reached C1, we pushed through the Candeletta in ugly weather and set up C2 in full ugly col conditions. Never let up enough to even think of leaving the following night. Returned to Moraine Camp next day then to Huaraz the next. Weather didn't clear up again till about the 11th.
Our team of Tim, Jim, Ben and I pushed up to Camp 2 in tough conditions. There were a few ice pitches to get through in the Candeletta that were quite trying to our stamina, but we got it done. Once at Camp 2, the already bad weather became worse. That night, there was quite a lot of wind and new snowfall creating questionable route and avalanche condidtions. We retreated back to the Moraine Camp but now know the beta for Huascaran Sur....attack this peak via El Escudo.
Silvio and I hiked up to Moraine camp (4800) but he got very sick that night so we didn´t leave for our high camp (5600) until late the next day. We checked out the approach to the Shield on Day Three and decided to cross the ´schrund on the far right (5800) and try a direct line to the summit ridge--the longest ice line we could spot on the face. On Day Four we left the tent at 3 am with a single headlamp (Silvio´s) and a liter of water each after using the last of our fuel to melt snow. On the first pitch at 4 am Silvio´s light stopped working but he kept climbing. I led the rest of the climb to the ridge (ice, ice-neve, neve, totaling eight or so rope lengths), which we reached at 11:30. Then came an endless slog to join the Normal Route around 6500. At this point it was late, getting cloudy, and we were knackered, so we descended the Normal. We reached our tent at 7:30, having bummed a couple of liters of water from a team on the way down. Preliminary research indicates this may be a new route.
my partner was hung over and sick so I started going to the other camps seeking a team to join. Met some nice guys from iceland and climbed with them to high camp. They all got sick, but one decided he didn't want me to solo so joined me. he started feeling good and we did top out together. What made him so driven was he promised a friend back home he'd get a picture of himself holding a frigin life size poster a Brittany Spears (or however you spell her name). So I took the shot...whatever!
I climbed this mountain in July 2001, I had great weather and I only met 5 people during my climb. It was the most difficult solo climb I have done so far. Solo climb.